Wednesday, December 22, 2010

KU’s new QB Brock Berglund says his skill set has elements of Tim Tebow, Michael Vick and Peyton Manning

Quarterback Brock Berglund.

Quarterback Brock Berglund.


It takes less than five minutes of talking to him to realize two things about Brock Berglund, the latest Kansas University football commitment who orally pledged to join the Jayhawks on Monday.

First, Berglund is confident. Extremely. Second, he was born to be a quarterback.

Reached by phone Tuesday night, Berglund sounded as if he had just come off the gridiron after his team’s state championship victory earlier this month. He was upbeat, enthusiastic and happy to share the details of what led him to Kansas.

But before getting into all of that, Berglund was asked one simple question: Whom do you resemble on the football field? He swung for the fences with his answer.

“I would say Tim Tebow, Michael Vick and Peyton Manning kind of all put together,” Berglund said. “I’m not comparing myself to those guys or anything like that, but if I had to say what my skill-set was like, I would say those three guys.”

Berglund continued: “My ability to make plays outside of the pocket is a lot like Michael Vick’s. When it’s third-and-27 and you’re just trying to get a few yards to punt, he makes a first down or a touchdown. Tim Tebow’s just a leader on the field and a motivator, and I like motivating. And I’d say I prepare like Peyton Manning does in the way that I watch tons and tons of film in a week and like to get ready for anything a defense can throw at me.”

Berglund even went as far as to divulge that he has Tebow’s patented jump pass in his arsenal.

“I do. We actually ran that in the state quarterfinals,” he said. “It was a little different, but we got it from Florida. (It worked) for a two-point conversion.”

During KU coach Turner Gill’s first season with the program, a lot was made about the quarterback position and how Gill and offensive coordinator Chuck Long handled it.

Rightfully so.

Each week it seemed as if there was a major question surrounding the game’s most important position, from which player had earned the start that week to an injury update. By season’s end, after watching three different players start at QB for Kansas in 2010, one thing was abundantly clear.

“Right now, we do not have an established quarterback,” Long said prior to KU’s Nov. 20 game with Oklahoma State. “That’s just something we don’t have at this point in time.”

For the most part, it seemed as if Gill and company did the best they could with what they had. However, throughout the season, talk about the future of the position continued to pop up. Gill and Long were asked nearly every week what the ideal quarterback for their system would look like. Without throwing any of their current QBs under the bus, the two former college quarterbacks always seemed happy to answer.

“We’re open to all kinds of styles,” Gill said on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show in early November. “We’re looking for guys who are gonna be productive. We’d really like to have a guy who has a strong arm and can make plays with his arm but also can make plays with his legs.”

Having the ability to hurt defenses in multiple ways was not the only criteria Gill outlined. At the top of Gill’s wish list was a much more important quality.

“I’m looking for a guy who’s a winner,” Gill said. “I want to see on some form of his resume that he has been a winner. In high school, junior college, whatever. I want him to have that make-up about him. He has to have that in his background.”

Though Gill went on to say he would not shy away from taking a guy who was more of a pure passer, the core of his comments seemed to reference Berglund, a senior at Valor Christian High in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Berglund’s commitment to Kansas came one day after he decommitted from Colorado and one week after junior-college quarterback Zack Stoudt passed on KU in favor of Ole Miss.

Though Stoudt, 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, seemed like a good fit for Kansas, Berglund sounds a lot more like the quarterback Gill and Long have been talking about all along. The 6-4, 205-pound, dual-threat QB, who wore No. 16 in high school, passed for 2,174 yards and ran for 945 yards during his senior season.

He saved his best for last, throwing for 280 yards (on 12-of-16 passing) and three TDs and rushing for 122 yards and another touchdown in Valor’s 38-8 romp in the Class 4A title game.

Berglund, the 13th-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2011 and a three- or four-star prospect depending on where you look, dominated the high school ranks largely because he prepared like he was in college.

He watched hours of game film on his opponents and, in the days since his prep career ended, has taken it a step further.

“College is definitely a different world,” he said. “There’s no (high school) defense that’s gonna look like Texas or look like Oklahoma. But one thing I have been doing is I’ve watched a lot of college film, just to get ready for that. I’ve watched some Pac-10 stuff, I was watching some Big 12 stuff, just looking at defenses and kind of breaking down what they do, just for a little football knowledge for myself.”

Berglund continued: “I’m gonna compete, and wherever that takes me, that takes me. But I’m gonna put everything out there, and I’m gonna give it all I have. The second that coach Long can send me a playbook, I’m gonna get into that.”

Berglund is trying to graduate high school early and said, if the academic side of things works out, he’ll enroll at Kansas in January.

“If it’s a possibility, I will probably end up there,” he said. “But if it isn’t, I’m gonna be out there for spring ball anyway. I’m gonna get out there. I’m gonna watch practice. I’m gonna be in meeting rooms. I’m gonna be a part of this thing either way, whether I’m in a classroom and I’m throwing this spring or I’m flying down 15 times for the 15 practices. Either way, I’m gonna be there.”


KU_Alumn_2000 7 years, 6 months ago

Hey Matt - you mentioned that he was happy to share the details as to what led him to Kansas...but the article never really addressed that. What series of events led Brock to decommit from cu to come to Kansas ?

Also. - I'd be willing to bet that Gill doesn't waste any time getting him on the field as a true freshman. It would be nice to red shirt him and all those big offensive linemen coming in next year...but I think Coach Gill will have some urgency to play these guys without the redshirt.

One final thought - Brandon Burbon is a beast...especially now that he had a year to gain muscle and get better with the redshirt. What's gonna happen at running back when we have sims, bourbon, and miller coming in from blue springs ?

Dirk Medema 7 years, 6 months ago

If we can get and keep Spikes and Hatch healthy for 2011, the OL will only need a freshman or two to fill the 2-deep, and we could probably go without for the most part. That being said, if they're ready, let 'em play.

As for RB, think June Heneley & LT Levine with ??? in reserve. (?95?) Watching them and Mark Williams, Issac Byrd, ... tear up UCLA in HI is still one of my favorite games.


Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

If Bourbon is big enough what about putting him at Fulback? We really don't have one and having both Bourbon and Sims/Miller in the backfield together could be sick.

jchief40 7 years, 6 months ago

Exactly! The whole point of me reading this was to find out why he chose Kansas. Matt did not address that unfortunately... sigh

DevilHawk 7 years, 6 months ago

He needs to remove the "jump-pass" from his playbook. It goes wrong far more often than it goes right.

100 7 years, 6 months ago

Absolute winner.

Great job Coach Gill.

shimjhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

This kid impresses more each day....I bet he was Gill's top choice all along and indirectly fell back into their lap.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 7 years, 6 months ago

Impressive. I wonder if we could actually have a freshman QB next year?

hawk316 7 years, 6 months ago

I, too, am very impressed with what is coming out of this kid's mouth. He seems tremendously dedicated, intelligent and talented. Knowing how important it is to Coach Gill, Berglund is probably a high character guy, as well. This may turn out to be a much better deal for KU in the long run than if we had picked up Stoudt.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

This kid sounds like the real deal. He can definitely talk the talk. Hearing him say that he's already breaking down film of college defenses, and saying that he's gonna study the playbook as soon as he can legally get his hands on one. And that he'll fly in to watch practice and go to team meetings if he's unable to enroll in January. He maybe be listed as only a 3 star recruit. But with that kind of focus, effort, and preparation he definitely has the makings of a 4 star recruit. The physical tools can be developed. The drive and the motivation is either there or it's not. And with him I'd say that it's there.

LAJayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Totally agree. The drive, motivation and confidence that borders on cockiness all remind me of Reesing... only perhaps even more dedicated. You need that kind of personality to really excel at the next level.

Just words, but their the right ones so far....

ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 6 months ago

"open to all kinds of styles" = we take what we can get.

truefan 7 years, 6 months ago

"open to all kinds of styles" = coach speak for we wouldn't turn away a good quarterback just because he isn't a dual-threat. They would have been happy with Stoudt who is a pocket passer, and they are equally happy with Berglund who is more of a dual-threat QB but has nice touch on the ball and a strong arm.

If you turn away a QB because he doesn't fit your style, you could be letting go the next Manning, Vick, or even Reesing for that matter. We didn't run a spread offense until Reesing got here. The coaches changed the style for him and won quite a few games.

shimjhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Pretty good comments from Big 12 blogger:

Here's what the scouts had to say about the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder.

"Berglund could be one of the bigger sleepers this class has to offer as a dual-threat athlete that has the look of a pocket passer. He has terrific measurables for the position and his athleticism and ability to be utilized as a runner is not something you see much of from a prospect of his stature ... Plays mostly out of the shotgun, but is quick with his drops and sets up well with little wasted motion when working from under center. Shows nice ball handling skills and can freeze defenders with play fakes with his attention to detail. He displays very good pocket presence and has the lateral movement to buy second chances. He is dangerous when out of the pocket because he can make all the throws against his body, yet beat you with his feet."

troutsee 7 years, 6 months ago

Great attitude. Definitely a winning, confident attitude. He'll muscle up to 215-220 by his soph year. Gill and staff were on this guy early on before he committed to CU. Looks like we got a good kid who can run or pass, which is just what we needed.

Fred Davis 7 years, 6 months ago

While this kid hasn't even signed on the dotted line yet, I'm going to go ahead and give an "Atta Boy" to Coach Gill and his staff for nabbing this kid after the fact, especially considering the sky was falling last week if you read the comments on this board after the JUCO kid said No Thanks... The immediate comparison for this kid is going to be Reesing, because it sounds to me like this kid is a bigger, more mobile version of the best KU Quarterback in the last 20 years... But the impact this kid can have on the program could be much bigger, and is essentially going to be the difference in whether TGill survives at KU... If this kid can ball and becomes the franchise quarterback this program needs for the next 3-4 years, then all the talk of competing for Big 12 Titles and bringing in quality recruits will come to fruition... If this kid becomes the next Adam Barmann, then we'll be wishing TGill the best of luck in the next 2-3 years after 10 combined wins... I'm excited about this kid and the rest of KU Football fans should be too... You can say what you want about Turner Gill and his first year, his rules and his demeanor, but the guy told us he was going to recruit and turn KU into a consistently winning program... So far, he's delivered on the recruiting angle - sure it's too early tell how his inaugural class will turn out - but I'm encouraged by what he's bringing in and the kids he's talking to.... The winning, that's still to come, but I'm excited about KU Football and let's give TGill just a little more slack now that this program is really his...

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

You've got a very valid point, but, in their current situation, the KU coaching staff simply has to play the best guy, regardless of age.

Mecham's a senior, Webb's a sophomore and Berglund will be a true freshman.... But if the young guy is better out there then they have to go with him.

Deficiencies at the QB position caused way too many problems for the KU offense this season. And I'm talking about things way bigger than incomplete passes. KU's QBs were unsure, they lacked size and a natural feel for the position and missed a lot of reads down the field because of not being able to see them and/or not being comfortable enough to let them develop.

Berglund's got some work to do before he completely surpasses Webb and Mecham, but it sounds like he's ready to do that work. Heck, it sounds like he's already started.

Should be fun.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 7 years, 6 months ago

Nice take. My question is how can all these very successful high school and JC quarterbacks not have a natural feel for the position, miss reads, etc... Is it poor recruiting (ie they aren't as good as we thought), poor coaching and planning or they aren't being developed or what?

Eric Williams 7 years, 6 months ago

The reality is that College Football is much faster. Big 12 Football is much faster than both High School and JUCO.

I think part of the blame for QBs with successful history not developing falls on the player for not putting in the work. And part falls on the coaching staff for not preparing them for the transition.

Whenever NFL rookies are asked about the main difference from college, 90% of the time they say "speed". The same goes for HS to College.

John Randall 7 years, 6 months ago

A lot of high school teams will play a kid at quarterback because he is their best athlete and they don't have anyone with the other qualities it takes to play the position at a higher level, (where everyone else is also a good athlete). As a result, the most common position switch for players recruited as QBs is to other skill positions – usually WR or DB.

Kenneth Hillman 7 years, 6 months ago

I like him. Definitely has the measurables and the attitude. Stay humble Brock and prove yourself on the field and in the huddle. Outwork everybody and good things will come.

Matt - Like Alum 2000 mentioned, I'm curious about his road to KU. Always good to hear what made a top recruit choose KU so we can replicate that.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, sorry... Didn't intend to leave that out. Most of it was detailed in yesterday's article, though.

The bottom line is that he loved KU all along... He was wowed by Gill and Long and Shealy and the facilities and the fact that he was treated so well by everybody here before, during and after his visits.

I think he chose CU because of the close-to-home angle, but he told me that as soon as coach Hawkins was fired one of his first calls was to Gill about setting up an official visit. To new CU coach Jon Embree's credit, he encouraged Brock to take that visit and he, too, handled this whole situation with a lot of class.

Brock said he followed the situation with Zack Stoudt closely and was hoping even during that that he would be able to wind up at KU. Asked if he still would've come here if KU had signed Stoudt, Brock said he more than likely would have. Impressive.

Like the article mentions, he's an incredibly confident kid but it's not all that cocky. He just believes in his ability, believes that because he's willing to work his butt off he will become a player and, as we all know, belief in something like that is a great character trait.

It's gonna be fun to watch this kid develop as a Jayhawk. He's still gotta bring it on the field, but I think he's gonna be a player.

Thanks for reading!!!

Max Ledom 7 years, 6 months ago

In the article it says, "13th ranked QB in the country". Is that to make us feel better? Because yesterdays article said he was the 13th ranked "Dual-Threat" QB in the country. Believe me I'm excited either way. But could you give some quick clarification?

KU_Alumn_2000 7 years, 6 months ago

Matt - thanks for sharing. Sounds like Gill's staff and our facilities are appealing to recruits. Nice job coach Gill !!!

John Randall 7 years, 6 months ago

You can thank Gill for the staff, but doesn't Lew deserve the kudos for the facilities?

Layne Pierce 7 years, 6 months ago

He will still have to beat out the 2 quarterbacks we have and Cummins, although I would not be surprised if Cummins is redshirted coming off his injury. Either way, both of them are dual threat, and that is key for us.

We need to use ball-control and dual threat is essential for that. Our stable of backs with continued line improvement should be awesome. Miller will be used in a variety of ways, he can also play wide receiver with his speed, and we could have some unusual sets.

Can't help but think that we are recruiting the kinds of players we need, we will be better next year, record might not indicate it, but competitive we should be in almost every game.

swunruh 7 years, 6 months ago

If the O Line blocks we can start a freshman or even Tait at QB. The O Line is critical and it sounds like Coach Gill has the Hawks headed in the right direction in that department!

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Appreciate the vote of confidence. I'm definitely more of a mobile quarterback than I am a pro-style passer. Mobile in a run-for-your-life sort of way!!!

focojayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

"mobile in a run-for-your-life sort of way"

then you will fit in perfect with these poor guys that have been doing just that! haha! Thanks for all the info, Matt, i enjoy your insights and articles more than any others on here.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks a bunch. Glad to hear you're getting something out of them.

Happy Holidays!

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

You gotta have a solid O-Line. I read the blog about Matt Tait's 40 time, and with the injured and diminished O-line we had all year, Matt wouldn't even be out of his 3-step drop before the D was all over him.

jaycard 7 years, 6 months ago

Change of subject here, but, anybody hear anything about Ben Mclemore? Love the articles Matt, you're the best.

Chris Mossman 7 years, 6 months ago

Cam Newton isn't your typical Juco QB though. He was a highly recruited QB that signed with Florida out of high school. A Cam Newton type Juco QB wouldn't be considered "some juco guy" like Stoudt or any other Juco QB. Newton was clearly an elite talent coming out of junior college. Not many Juco QBs have the type of success that Cam Newton is having so yeah most Juco QBs are "some juco guy." That said, KU does not have the kind of money it takes to get a QB of the caliber of a Cam Newton.

lv_jhwk 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow, didn't take long for people to toss Michael Cummings aside.

I agree that this is a pretty decent get for Gill, but I remember many similar comments being directed at our other incoming qb not too long ago. Here's to hoping that we have two guys coming in who will push each other, where one wins the job rather than the other(s) losing it.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Two things put Cummings a step behind Berglund at this point.

  1. The ACL injury. I'm sure he'll be ready to go by the time he gets to campus but will he be the same player and how long will it take him to truly trust his knee again?

  2. Pure size. Cummings is 6-0, 195. Berglund is 6-4, 205. That's a big difference, especially the height.

Both have a chance to be players, though.

lv_jhwk 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the input, Matt. I was aware of these two items before, and agree with how it puts Berglund ahead of the two as of now. I was just surprised at the swiftness with which Cummings seemed to become last month's flavor of the week.

"Both have a chance to be players, though."

That's all I hope for.

Geekinout 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow I like peoples optimism here, but I need to see it before I can believe it. Especially at this level and speed of play. If he stays humble, believes in the system, and works hard he just might be the guy to get KU back to respectable. I still think it's going to be a tough next couple of years though, considering our youth and our lack of an offensive line. Godspeed, desperate times call for desperate measures!

justanotherfan 7 years, 6 months ago

It's nice to have two true freshmen QB's coming in that could both be future starters.

Cummings is going to almost definitely have to redshirt. He missed the last part of his high school season and will more than likely just be getting back to 100% in time for summer drills. Given the nature of the QB position, if Berglund is on campus in January, along with Webb and Meacham, I don't see Cummings beating those guys out unless he is just that much more talented. Which if he is, that's a huge plus.

Berglund could redshirt, but if he gets in for spring drills, he has a chance to compete for the starting job. No guarantee that he would win it, and if he doesn't, he's a redshirt candidate, too, but the competition should make the QB position better than this season.

The other thing to consider is whether Cummings switches positions once he arrives. Not saying he will, but there is always that possibility. Pick did it. Meier did it (with great success). There are a bunch of guys that have switched from QB to other positions with lots of success. If nothing else, Cummings is an athlete that can either play QB or another position if Berglund can solidify the QB situation. And if not, then Cummings can step in there.

rwhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

I think guys should be assigned a jersey number at the moment they sign a letter of intent, that way we can all begin referring to them properly instead of by their actual name.

Eric Williams 7 years, 6 months ago

Can Matt or any KU fans answer this?

We have Sims, Bourbon (RFr), Sands, Miller (Fr) and Dreamius Smith (Fr). Smith keeps getting lost in the mix, but he led Heights to the 6A State title this year.

Are 1 or more of those RBs going to shift to LB or Safety (ala Kemp from a few years ago)?

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Sims, Miller and Bourbon are for sure going to be running backs. Gill has said that much and I can't see him changing his mind on that.

Not sure about Smith. He's got good size and could easily project as a safety or a linebacker. But he also could red-shirt and help the team at RB down the line.

Then again, he could be the man next year. Remember, most people this offseason were talking about Bourbon and very few (myself included) even mentioned Sims' name. Bourbon red-shirts and Sims becomes a stud freshman. Weird the way the ball bounces sometimes.

I'm not sure what the future holds for Sands and KU also will have Rell Lewis back from injury. He'll be a senior. There's a lot of depth and talent at RB right now, which, believe it or not, makes moving Opurum look all that much better.

This will be one of the most intriguing positions to follow this spring.

Max Ledom 7 years, 6 months ago


The article it says, "13th ranked QB in the country". Is that to make us feel better? Because yesterdays article said he was the 13th ranked "Dual-Threat" QB in the country. Believe me I'm excited either way. But could you give some quick clarification?

Max Ledom 7 years, 6 months ago


The article it says, "13th ranked QB in the country". Is that to make us feel better? Because yesterdays article said he was the 13th ranked "Dual-Threat" QB in the country. Believe me I'm excited either way. But could you give some quick clarification?

KURiggins 7 years, 6 months ago

What about the good job Coach Gill and his staff are doing actually putting together a decent off. line. Which we did not have this year. A great OL makes a great QB look all that much better and Coach Gill knows that. His hand was forced last year with a bad OL recruited by Mangino. I like the OL we are getting, the QB, the RB's you name it. However, I have really been impressed by the fact he is trying to get a good OL.

texashawk10 7 years, 6 months ago

I love Brock's attitude, he's got some cockiness in him, but at the same time realizes that it's the hardwork off the field that allows players to have his attitude and be able to back it up. Hopefully he will be able to graduate early like he wants to so that he can go through spring practice this year and if not, it's going to be another miserable season of musical quarterbacks between Webb and Mecham.

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